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Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Pearls

Caitlin

New member
Sounds like gold beads are not a good choice for spacers.

I don't use gold, but my silver spacers are much harder metal and can be knotted on each side. I only buy hole sizes I can knot on each side, unless I want to cover a knot. I like the pearl/spacer/pearl spacer pattern. but I often use small to tiny, pearls or gemstones in between the bigger pearls.
 

knotty panda

Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert
I find silk picks up all the grubbiness and stuff.

That seems odd since silk actually repels dirt. I assume you mean dirt when you say "grubbiness and stuff." That's probably why all those silk rugs, tapestries, and garments which are now in museums have lasted for thousands of years.

It (silk) really hates water and surfactants.

I wonder why the silk industry recommends hand washing silk garments. Odd indeed.
 

Caitlin

New member
Ho, ho, ho, knotty. A sense of deju va all over again. We have other recorded instances of this conversation in other threads, though it has been awhile.

To recap, my argument is that silk stretches. It stretches from being worn because of the weight of the pearls. If silk is washed and not carefully laid out to dry with no weight on it, the silk stretches, even laid out it may be getting loose knots as cyens says. The silk from old pearls often stinks, just as cyens says. It may have food or liquids embedded in it not to mention perfumes and product smells, all from from direct contact from same. I used silk for decades, but jumped ship to other products such as Bernadette mentions.

If one can afford a great SS necklace, one can certainly get it reknotted as the silk ages, but for the majority of civilians, silk is silly. One can wash a pearl necklace strung on anything from griffon to power-pro, including the Japanese thread and the Australian thread. All can be washed with fewer problems than silk, all can even be worn in the shower. The man-made threads do not shrink or stretch, they repel most food and product, AND they can be washed after every use. Some products like Kay Gee beading thread from Australia come in a number of colors. All have great drape, virtually indistinguishable from silk.

I don't mind if people disagree with my forward conclusions and I always love a good reason for using silk, but I haven't found one that holds water except "customers want it"

I have all natural p. radiatas and Chinese cultured freshwater pearls, except my 1 strand of Tahitians. I do not need to fulfill customer instructions for silk, so I am free to experiment. I find my pearls love to be in water and to be washed with the gentle clarifying shampoos that naturally fall from my head in the shower. Just enough to obtain perfect cleanliness every time. No dirty, stinky thread that stretches when wet.

Hugs
 

Pearlgully

New member
I frequently use 22k spacers in between pearls. They've never scratched or marked any of my pearls. Unfortunately, they are so expensive now.

In my experience, lower karat gold such as 14k or 10k, does discolor thread and leaves color marks on pearls because the metal tarnishes.

I remember discussing this a while back and I suggested that if you're concerned about a spacer scratching a pearl, rub the spacer against a pearl you don't mind sacrificing and see what happens......


Gail
 
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BeadersSecret

Professional Rethreader
I could hardly agree more with Kevin and Caitlin's posts.

When reading these two posts I was reminded of a quotation - " In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

In theory Silk should be a near perfect threading material - in practice it falls way short (as well described by Caitlin)

In theory the gold spacers shouldn't be an issue - in practice they can be.

Silk has some marvellous properties - its strength amongst natural fibres is legendary - but - as a threading material its limitations have to be considered - and its usage questioned and weighed up against other materials which have the same\similar\better good properties - and absent the less good ones.

PearlGully - gold actually "scratching" the pearl isn't the issue as I see it - and I don't think the gold in itself is the problem - it could just as easily be silver - brass or any other metal - the same or similar result tends to happen when in rubbing contact with the pearl.
 

Pearl Lover

New member
Hey everyone,

I wrote one other post on this forum about how to care for my pearls but I have been mostly lurking, reading up on all the amazing info I had no idea about! I just wanted to say thank you for all the advice on pearl care. My pearls are doing well and in fact I listened to everyone’s advice about wearing them often…I am wearing them right now.

I did have one question; while looking threw older post about pearl care someone mentioned that sunlight is good for pearls. Is this true? I had never heard that before and I was just wondering.

Thanks!
 

pattye

Pearl Scholar
Don't recall that one. What I vaguely remember is extended periods of direct sunlight on pearls like dark natural purple freshwaters could possibly result in some fading--such as if they were in an exposed store window for long time.

My recollection is that in most cases sunlight would be neither good nor bad. Overtones generally show better in dimmer light.

Bleach plus light is used to lighten pearls in a controlled indoor environment.

Anyone else?
 

GemGeek

Pearlista
Prolonged sunlight isn't a great idea because it can dry out the pearls and a lot of sun can eventually degrade organic material. ;)
 

aquarian

New member
I have read that strands of pearls should be stored flat? Is this the case. My mum received a beautiful long strand and I want to help them last (mainly because I want to enjoy them too) and wondering if I should make her something to store them flat. Also I am thinking that silk would be the best material to make it out of as it is the least abrasive?

PS: Yes I am handy with a sewing machine so thinking of adapting a jewellery roll style pattern to an envelope style setup so they don't "brush" against each other.
 

KAC

New member
I'm not sure you need to resort to any elaborate means to store your mum's pearls - but what a good son/daughter to even think about it. Silk or any soft material would be fine if you wanted to sew something, your "roll" idea sounds perfect for storing pearls.

I guess with a long or heavy strand you could get premature sag in the silk if you were to let it hang when not in use, but even that would take a long time I would think?
 

aquarian

New member
Well I have to do something creative with the 40+ metres of fabric that have been brought back. Also our climate here is pretty tough with extreme temperatures (below freezing in winter to mid to high 40 degrees Celsius in the summer) so anything that will help them stay at a more constant temperature might help with their longevity. My house in particular is pretty bad, a fully closed house with a day of strong wind will find you returning to about 1cm of thick red dust all over the house, and one linen cupboard pulled out and rewashed. The joys of country life!
 

pattye

Pearl Scholar
Hi Aquarian,

A silken jewelry roll is a lovely idea! Having pretty storage is a great reminder to put away, for me at least! And less chance for pearls to be scratched by harder stones or metal.

Your mention of the dust took me right back to my growing up days-eastern Washington state farmland-terrific dust storms, with drifts of fine as face powder dust on the window sills and layers on everything else, too!
 

aquarian

New member
Hi Pattye... well I am bet you glad to be moved far away from those dust storms... every time we are away and the wind blows I hope it isn't getting into my house.
 

LLoydsJewelry

New member
I am a gemologist but fairly new to stringing pearls. I have found that using power pro line works very well. It knots well, and is very strong. It is necessary to use a battery powered thread burner. This stuff is so strong most sissors won't cut it. Anyone had experience with power pro please reply.

Power pro began as a fishing line. It is also used to build bullet proof vests. Drape is silk like. In the white color you can't tell it from silk. I use the two strand method. String sometimes must be doubled to get the snug fit to make the knots not slide into pearls.

Restring to avoid breakage should not be required.

Lloyd Patterson
Gemologist GIA
 

pearlescence

purveyor of pearls
You might want to duck before Caitlin reads this. She is the world's biggest fan of powerpro (I suggest you do a quick search for further info on power pro all through the forum)
 

Caitlin

New member
Wendy is totally correct. Since I found Powerpro, I rarely use anything else. It is the best for big pearls. It clips well with those U-shaped sewing clippers which sell for under $5-. I recently bought a ten pack of them for $10, because they get dull. Also Fiskars kid scissors, but those don't work to get between the pearls if you have to cut something apart. You are right about the thread burner, though I've been known to use a lighter- with a VERY light touch. Drawbacks are lack of colors- Don't use anything but white or moss green the red and yellow lose dye when they get wet. Also, it is too rough for some people's hands.

My priority is always to make a strand that won't break and can be washed and worn without stretching. I often wear my pearls into the shower and they love it, but silk stretches and rots when worn into the shower. I wore one bracelet strung on PP for over a year without taking it off and at the end, the pearls were shinier and the thread was clean, though a few knots were a bit fuzzy, they were still tight and neat. My infinity ropes are strung with it and I am glad I won't have to restring them for many years! I only wear freshwaters on PowerPro into the shower. My Tahitians are still on silk, so I just wipe them with a damp cloth. I don't own akoyas.

Be sure to post some pix of of your stringing jobs!

I am a gemologist but fairly new to stringing pearls. I have found that using power pro line works very well. It knots well, and is very strong. It is necessary to use a battery powered thread burner. This stuff is so strong most sissors won't cut it. Anyone had experience with power pro please reply.

Power pro began as a fishing line. It is also used to build bullet proof vests. Drape is silk like. In the white color you can't tell it from silk. I use the two strand method. String sometimes must be doubled to get the snug fit to make the knots not slide into pearls.

Restring to avoid breakage should not be required.

Lloyd Patterson
Gemologist GIA
 
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Cathybear

New member
Thanks to Caitlin's suggestion long long ago, I use powerpro too. I buy it from a fishing dealer, it feels the same as the stuff sold for beading, but I can get it on 300 yard rolls and in more thicknesses. I use 30lb, 40lb and 50lb. Its tough, and waterproof, I cut off with Wiltshire scissors and melt the knot with a lighter. I live in the tropics so much of the year I could only wear ropes over a collared shirt; now I can wear shorter necklaces even when humidity is high, and give them a gentle hand wash when I take them off. More colours would be nice :eek:) but I can make do with white or moss, often with tiny gold spacer beads to cover the knot.
Cathy
 

Cathybear

New member
I must add... Thank you Caitlin!
Also for complex designs that would cost a bomb to have restrung, if you could find someone willing to do it, powerpro is ideal.
I know I've strung some longer necklaces that I really wouldn't want to have to do again.
 
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